I finally got to visit one of the sites for my study, the Alkali Grassland Preserve in Woodland, CA (ironic town name, as you can see). Here are some pictures that I took myself of Cordylanthus palmatus. This time I don't have to worry about getting permission to post the pics.
We went early in the morning (the PhD student, Tracy, and I) in order to beat the heat and the blackflies. We checked on some experiments that Tracy is working on and I wandered around, going "what's this?" "what's this?" every five minutes. Some of the plants out there I recognized, especially Salicornia, pickleweed. I love this plant, it looks like seaweed growing on land, or knobby little gnome fingers.
We also took some samples of three different Atriplex species, hoping that one of them would be the ever elusive Atriplex joaquiniana, one of the rare plants that I'm supposed to include in the second half of my study. One of the plants we collected was kind of weedy in the site, and I had already shown it to my professor who said it wasn't A. joaquiniana, but we took it anyway. I brought the three plants to the herbarium at Davis and the curator there, Ellen, wonderfully offered to press them and show them to the California annual Atriplex guy, Robert Preston. I just went by there today to see what he had to say, and there are not one, but TWO RARE ATRIPLEX on my site!!! This is big people. Very exciting. Apparently the one that is weedy actually is A. joaquiniana, and a smaller one I collected is A. depressa. Wahoo! This means that my master's research will not be on only one plant, but at least two, if not three. I am sighing with relief.
Things are coming along with my research otherwise as well. Of course there is the requisite stress in between, but things are rolling now, so as long as I continue to make myself massive to-do lists, things will be aaaaaaall right.